Alcohol and Chronic Disease - Safe or Sorry?

Alcohol use among older adults has been rising steadily over the past few decades. By 2020, it is estimated that 5.7 million seniors will use or misuse alcohol. The reasons that elders choose to drink vary. One thing is certain, it becomes a dangerous combination for those with chronic conditions.

Increased health care costs associated with alcohol use in Medicare patients topped over $26 billion in 2006. Medical and related expenses were even higher for older adults with chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, kidney disease and others.

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Hot or Not? Keeping Elders Hydrated in the Summer Heat

Record high temperatures are gripping much of our country.  While the heat may be uncomfortable to many of us, for the elders in our care it can be down-right dangerous.

Growing older, certain medications and chronic disease affect the body’s ability to regulate body temperature and fluid balance.  While we can’t control all factors, keeping an elder well-hydrated is within our realm of care.

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Improve Comfort and Nutritional Health: Tips for Managing COPD

COPD is a wide-spread, debilitating lung disease that makes breathing more difficult over time. I've personally experienced how devastating COPD is to our loved ones. Caring for those with chronic bronchitis and emphysema creates challenges for your organization and direct care staff. 

Symptoms interfere with daily activities like walking, eating and self-care and continue to increase in severity.  Elders with COPD are also at a much higher risk of malnutrition, falls, infections and hospital stays. 

Educating caregivers to manage meals with simple techniques can increase comfort and improve nutritional health.

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Concerned about Choking? Mealtime Tips for Safer Swallowing

Growing older affects the body’s ability to get vital nutrition and stay hydrated - from a reduced sense of smell and taste to slowed digestion to changes of the swallowing reflex.  Dysphagia is the term used to describe difficulty chewing and swallowing.  It may be caused by physiological changes from age or chronic disease like Alzheimer’s.  As many as 600,000 people are affected each year, with that number growing as baby boomers continue to live longer.

 Individuals advanced in age, with late-stage dementia, those who have suffered a stroke or with Parkinson’s or other neurological conditions are at highest risk for dysphagia and related complications. 

While the term dysphagia sounds technical and complex, caregivers can take simple steps to lessen the risk through changes to food choice, texture and mealtime management. Continue reading to learn more.

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Comfort at Mealtime: Favorite Foods for Satisfied Clients

With most of the country in a deep freeze many of us are looking for ways to stay warm and cozy

I head to the kitchen to cook a big pot of steaming vegetable soup. Using the recipe my grandmother taught me nearly 30 years ago, the soup is always hearty and delicious but the memories it invokes are just as warm

Favorite foods can provide comfort and healing, bring back memories and be emotionally significant for your clients, too. Mealtime is a perfect opportunity for caregivers to connect with those in their care. Taking time to learn about food traditions and cooking and serving their favorite meals builds rapport and creates a very personalized level of service.  Caregivers can also get creative with meals for added nutrition or for those on special diets.

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Elders and Diabetes: Caring for the Most Vulnerable

Each November, communities bring awareness to diabetes and its impact on Americans’ health and well-being. Diabetes is a devastating disease to more than 30 million Americans, with over 60 million more at risk for developing this chronic disease.

Individuals with diabetes often experience other health complications like heart attacks and stroke, problems with eyesight, tingling or pain in the feet or legs, kidney disease and other conditions.

Healthcare costs associated with treating diabetes topped over $327 billion in 2017. Medical expenditures averaged 2.3 times higher than those without diabetes.

These statistics may catch your attention, but there is a very vulnerable population of individuals with diabetes-the oldest and frailest- whom don’t get the attention they deserve.  Older adults over the age of 65 are six times more likely to develop diabetes and often experience severe complications. Educating ourselves about the management of diabetes can help protect those most at risk. Continue reading to learn some simple interventions.



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